Saturday, February 19, 2011

Backlog of Blog Posts

Gee, I reviewed the blog this morning and realized I have been totally remiss in posting about our various Zuki projects. I know I photographed them but I've plumb forgot to post them here. I will attempt to summarize them.

The Shimmy

SuziQ had a slight shimmy at speeds between 42-48 mph. I thought it was a wheel balance issue so I spent a lot of time trying to find a "wheel deal" for balancing. No such luck. Prices ranged from $7.50 to $12 a wheel. One day I decided to rotate the tires myself. It's an easy chore if you have 2 jacks or some jackstands or, in my case, a juniper log. Once I rotated the tires and checked the lug torque, the shimmy disappeared. One wheel's lug nuts were not tightened to specs. Well, that took care of that problem and it didn't cost anything.

Stuck Seats

One of the first things we do is get rid of the back seat. While pulling out the back seat, I decided to pull out the front ones, too, and thoroughly clean their tracks. After lathering them up with white lithium grease, they sure do slide back and forth a whole lot easier! Cost for this job was $4.

Door panels

All Zuki owners know how decrepit the door panels can get. SuziQ's panels were just the fiberboard. We toyed with the idea of buying chrome diamond plate panels but my wife, Susun, said, "Heck, let's paint 'em black and see how they look." They actually look surprisingly good and they're "keepers." Cost was $12 for the tools to remove the door handle and panel clips; $3 for some "Jesus clips;" and $3 for some spray paint. While we had the panels off, we used the white lithium grease to lube all the window regulators and various handle and lock parts.

Prop Rod

One of the Zukis of Arizona members sold us a prop rod for $10. It took a few weeks to make a connection to get it but it was worth the wait. Sam from Dewey told us about a great run on the Backside of Mingus and we did it February 11. Click here to read about that run.

Front brakes

I was planning on simply turning the rotors when I did the brakes.  The least cost I could find for turning them was $15 each.  One day I was in a Checker BS-ing with the Manager and he said, "Heck, buy new rotors, they are only $30 a pop."  I thought that was a good idea since I could do the brake job right away without waiting for somebody to turn the rotors.  So, my neighbor Gary and I popped that job out in less than 90 minutes on Saturday morning.  The total cost was $100, including a couple of new tools to make the job easier.

Towing baseplate

Somebody welded some shade tree method of towing onto SuziQ.  It wouldn't fit our Blue Ox tow bar.  I went to various places and got frightful quotes on the cost of adapting the vehicle so it could be used with our Blue Ox bar.  One day I stumbled on a whole Roadmaster tow rig--the kind that retails for around $1000.  I got the whole setup, including a step down receiver adapter for $125!  It cost $100 to get a welder to attach the baseplate to the Zuki.  That's cheap for getting it adapted to tow.

Spare tires

While I was buying that tow rig above, the seller told me the spare tire was flat.  Opps!  Big O re-beaded it and checked it in the water tank and it was leak free.  They didn't charge anything either.  Meanwhile, we went to Camper World in Mesa and bought a nice white spare tire cover for $25.  We don't go anywhere without 2 spare tires so my quest continued.  Sam from Dewey sold us a spoke wheel for $15.  I got a tire guy to give me $10 for the tire on Sam's wheel and then he only charged me $20 to purchase and mount a decent spare on the rim.  Meanwhile, on February 13th, a Zukis of Arizona stalwart (zukicidal) sold us five rims for $20 in Anthem.  One of those rims is a perfect match for SuziQ's rim style.  Amazingly, it has a stock 205/70/15 tire on it.  Heck, I thought "why not" and took it over to Big O.  Bog O once again re-beaded it and checked it and it's fine.  So, now we actually have 3 decent spare tires.


The antifreeze in SuziQ was worthless.  Luckily, I added some fresh mix before our major cold snap here.  Otherwise, we would have busted the block.  Meanwhile, there was a lot of sludge in the overflow bottle.  That worried me.  We wound up flushing the radiator twice and it appears to be in real good shape.  Since the temp gauge didn't work, we bought a new sender, thermostat and gasket and installed them while we were messing with the flush.  Total cost for fluid and parts was $30.  I bought a new fan belt but haven't put it on yet.


We've replaced the wipers ($12) and put on some cheap seat covers ($18).  We've fixed misc. little loose things here and there inside the vehicle. ($0).  We made a bunch of spare keys ($10) and have one hidden under the vehicle.  Meanwhile, we stamped our PO Box & Zip Code into the key set we use most.  We made a home grown battery retainer out of baling twine and a zip tie.  It works great and is rock solid.  We swapped out the PCV ($9).


We haven't swapped out the oil yet.  The seller did it two days before we bought it.  It's a cheap-o filter and I suppose the oil was bulk oil, too.  We did buy three Purolator Pure One 10241's down at a Sears automotive in Mesa.  We also picked up a case of decent quality 10-30 oil.  I reckon we better change the oil here pretty soon.


We continue to check the mpg of SuziQ.  We've had as high as 30.8 and as low as 25.  The average is right around that which we first experienced the day we bought it--27 mpg.

Road Trip Gear Rig

We've done a lot of work messing with our personal gear that we use on back country road trips.  Perhaps the most interesting thing was using two of the back seat bracket mounting bolts as retainers for our tool box.  Well, it's not really a tool box--it's a plastic tub.  We drilled out two holes and used some fender washers and bolted the box to the floor of the truck bed.  It can't shift around now.  Since we have a four ton floor jack in that box, the jack WOULD be shifting around a lot otherwise.  We plan to do the same thing to the second spare tire but will need to buy a different length bolt one of these days.  Hopefully, I will do a complete detailed post on how everything fits and what we carry back there.

2nd set of tires

Right now we are in the process of thinking about buying some high dollar BFG KM2 tires to use as when we get back up to Idaho.  The stock tires are fine for here but won't work up there.  The cost of the tires has given us sticker shock (at least $800!) so we're still just thinking about it.  We need two more wheels so we can have four new tires and two spare tires.

What's next?

As you know, we don't like traveling back roads without a fresh timing belt, alternator, fuel pump, radiator hoses and fan belt.  However, we've decided to hold off on those until we get back up to Idaho in May.  All my tools are up there and I have a much better, cleaner working space in the garage there.  That's when we will do all the other stuff and also the back brakes and fresh gear oil, repack from bearings, etc.  Hoepfully, everything will hold together until then.

Well, I think that catches us up with what we've been doing on SuziQ.  Have a great day & Cheers, jp

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